Whether you love navigating the busy streets of Melbourne or it gets you a bit road ragey, every can benefit from a drive out of the city chaos once in a while. If you don’t have the free time to go on a major road trip, you don’t necessarily need to miss out. Even though Melbourne is an ever expanding metropolis, it is surrounded by natural beauty that is extremely accessible for car owners. If you’re thinking about selling your car in Melbourne, take some last opportunities to get out on one of these short drives. If you’re selling a car to upgrade, take your new wheels out for a short spin. All of these drives are between half and hour to an hour and a half and will have you home by dinner time.
Werribee Gorge State Park and Circuit Track
Distance from Melbourne: Roughly 70kms and 1 hour drive
Only an hours drive from the Melbourne CBD you can find yourself in native Australian wilderness hiking alongside a sparkling clean river. You can drive there from Bacchus Marsh using the Western Freeway and Pentland Hills Road which leads you to Myers Road, and then into the park. There is a carpark at the Meikles Point Picnic Area where you can use the picnic tables at the end of your walk, or even better, have lunch at the water’s edge just a short distance away. If you’re in the mood for walking, the hike from this point starts extremely steeply, heading up through the shade of the gums with a beautiful view emerging as you go.
There is a short loop you can take that takes only about an hour, but the complete circuit is really where to magic is at. The circuit has incredible views of the gorge as well as opportunities for rock scrambling and taking a rest at the beach. Parks Victoria reckons it’s a 10km that needs up to 4.5hrs, but many find that they’ll finish faster than that. Perhaps the time accounts for how often you’ll want to stop and soak in the serenity. On summer weekends you’ll likely find yourself accompanied by other walkers, but winter time and weekdays tend to be pretty quiet, and just as beautiful.
Distance from Melbourne: 113kms and 1.5 hours drive
A trip to Lake Daylesford can be an outing on it’s own, or an add on to an early morning hike at Werribee Gorge, as it is only another 40 minutes drive. From Melbourne, it is fastest to take the M8 to the C141, exiting at Ruthven street. Lake Daylesford has the best of both the natural and material worlds as it is surrounded by bush walks and mineral springs, but is walking distance to various accommodation and the charming town centre. Pack your car with a picnic blanket and fill your basket at one of Daylesford cute shops where you can find local produce and wine.
At the lake you can find both sunny and shady grassy areas to set up. There is no entrance fee and you can usually find parking very close to the lake. The water is clean and clear and is usually a little bit cool even into the summer months, so it’s a perfect refresher on a warm day. If you’re a keen swimmer, it’s about a one kilometre swim straight across the length of the lake. If you prefer to walk, it takes about 40 minutes to stroll the 2.8 kms around the circumference which bustles with birdlife and lush scenery. With its sparkling waters and small town charm, Lake Daylesford is the perfect destination spot for a short drive out of Melbourne to wash off those city blues.
Warrandyte State Park
Distance from Melbourne: 28 Kms, 30-35 mins
If you’re looking for a drive that gets you completely out of city mode, but doesn’t break the bank on petrol, Warrandyte is your best bet. Less than thirty kilometres by car out of the CBD, this small Melbourne suburb hosts the clean waters of the Yarra River that wind and bend through the area, offering many opportunities to find a quiet spot for reflection. If you’re not much of a swimmer or it’s a cooler day, there are several walking tracks that lead you on a glorious labyrinth through the bush, often along the water’s edge. You can start at the state park (linked above), or the popular Jumping Creek reserve, or simple park in town and walk along the main trail by the river. Parking is often no issue at all so you’ll likely be able to drive right in to wherever you’re heading. Any trail you choose in Warrandyte will launch you into native bushlands full of Australian wildlife including birds, fish, and if you’re lucky, maybe even a platypus!
St. Andrews Saturday Market
Distance from Melbourne: 44 Kms, 45-50mins
If you want to plan a short drive that encompasses both nature and shopping, St. Andrews Community Market is the perfect drive for you. It’s a beautiful trip to take on any day of the week, but if you want to time it with the market, drive up on any Saturday between 9am and 2pm. The market will only close on a total fire ban day, but otherwise it’s open all year. There are lots of rotating stalls each week, but you can be sure to find delicious coffee, the popular freshly brewed chai from the chai tent, colourful food from several different countries, plus creative wares and preloved clothing. Whether you need anything or not, it’s fun to walk around and peruse the various crafts and vintage items on display. Not to mention, the whole market is set within a beautiful bush setting. If you’re looking for more nourishment after the market closes, you can walk straight across the road to the local cafe, sourdough bakery, or the pub! This short drive is perfect for packing nothing and making a day of it.